Six Components of a Healthy Relationship
Colleen Ekback, MA
No relationship is perfect, but there are some key elements necessary to create a healthy relationship. Understanding and applying these essential elements can help you make changes that lead to greater intimacy, happiness, growth and fulfillment in your present relationships. ConverselyNo relationship is perfect, but there are some key elements necessary to create a healthy relationship. Understanding and applying these essential elements can help you make changes that lead to greater intimacy, happiness, growth and fulfillment in your present relationships. Conversely, if your relationship lacks these fundamental elements, it may be an indicator that it is time to make changes, seek outside assistance or end a relationship that is unhealthy.
1. Trust – Trust is the key ingredient to a healthy relationship. It increases bonding, and involves more than just being faithful or keeping partner confidences. Partners feel a sense of safety, which allows for higher levels of intimacy.
2. Mutual Respect – Partners encourage and support one another in healthy relationships. There is no name-calling, threatening or abuse of any kind. Lack of respect breeds resentment, which damages trust in the relationship and lowers both partners’ self-esteem. Respectful partners consider each other in decisions that affect the relationship, and maintain an equal balance of power. Partners also treat each other with love and kindness, and refrain from saying hurtful things at all times.
3. Good Communication – Partners who consistently listen and understand one anothers’ point of view tend to have healthy communication. Even if you and your partner disagree, feeling as if you are heard and understood builds respect, which strengthens your bond and trust in one another.
4. Common Interests – Spending time engaging in activities that are enjoyable to both partners creates a shared experience that can brings couples closer emotionally. Engaging in pleasurable activities makes partners more at ease and open in the relationship, as well.
5. Absence of Physical Violence – If a partner uses physical violence, no matter how sorry afterward, he/she is not the partner for you. Abusive partners act from a need to control and dominate. In healthy relationships, partners never act in a violent or menacing way. If you fear your partner in any way, it is time to end the relationship. If you are afraid you may be harmed when doing so, call a domestic violence shelter or hotline for tips on how to safely leave the relationship.
6. Independence – Intimacy and independence are equally important in a healthy relationship. Exploring personal interests, opinions, and friendships away from a partner allows for personal growth, and increasesmental and emotional health. Happy couples allow one another space and are not threatened or jealous of time apart.
Couples who are happy most of the time consistently have these six components present in their relationship. The emotional support they give and receive helps to build trust and respect, which makes their bond stronger. Even if your relationship is absent of unhealthy characteristics, your overall happiness is what is most important. All couples have challenges, but it is important to feel content in your decision to be with your partner. Your relationship should make you happy more often than not.